Extraordinary historical biography
Like many well-heeled Georgian families, the Atkinson’s wealth was acquired at a terrible cost through the labour and lives of enslaved Africans. Drawing on his ancestor’s private correspondence, Richard Atkinson pieces together their unsettling story, from a weather-beaten house in Cumbria, to the ruins of their sugar estates in Jamaica. Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract is an extraordinary work of detective biography, and a uniquely personal account of one of the most disturbing chapters in Britain’s colonial past. Atkinson, a book publisher, lives in London but holds a deep-rooted affection for the north of England, the land of his ancestors.
“A towering achievement, founded on painstaking research, written with elegance and elan, salted with humour and shot-through with intelligent warmth and compassion.” — Monica Ali